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St. Vital shop owners cleaning up from water main break

Two Winnipeg business owners are still cleaning up from a water main break that flooded their buildings not once, but twice, earlier this month.

Appliance store owner says he's considering filing for bankruptcy after two floods

Two Winnipeg business owners are still cleaning up from a water main break that flooded their buildings not once, but twice, earlier this month. 2:13

Two Winnipeg business owners are still cleaning up from a water main break that flooded their buildings not once, but twice, earlier this month.

The break happened overnight on Jan. 3 on St. Anne's Road in St. Vital, while the second flood took place while the main was being repaired.

Muddy water flooded the basement and main floor of Sal Taliani's appliance shop, All City Vaccuum and MacDonald's Television and Appliances Ltd., in early January, causing between $50,000 and $100,000 in damage. (Katie Nicholson/CBC)
Muddy water flooded the basement and main floor of Sal Taliani's appliance shop, All City Vacuum and MacDonald's Television and Appliances Ltd., causing between $50,000 and $100,000 in damage.

Taliani says he holds the City of Winnipeg responsible for the damage, but his claim won't be looked at for weeks.

"If the water main was shut off on time, I wouldn't have any damage. But, I mean, for this place — 2,800 [square] feet — to have one foot of water in it plus the basement, it took them a long time to shut off that water," he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"To me, it's negligence. To them, 'No, that's the way it is.'"

'It's a headache'

Mark Serebnitski, who owns the building and denture clinic next door, estimated he's had about $20,000 in damages from the floods.

Serebnitski said as the water main was being fixed on Jan. 4, crews opened it up again, sending water and mud into his building.

"It's a headache, it's a shock. I'm lucky that I have insurance but it's still, you know, a lot of headache," he said.

"I'm lucky that this wasn't rented at the same time. Because other people would have that damage to [their] businesses."

Meanwhile, Taliani said he is thinking of filing for bankruptcy, as he doesn't have insurance and cannot afford a costly court battle.

The City of Winnipeg says it is "not liable for loss or damage as a result of a break or malfunction of a water main unless it is established that the break, malfunction or failure was the result of the negligence of the City or its employee."

A city spokesperson told CBC News that "there are circumstances beyond our control that can result in property flooding," such as homes that are near streets with large water mains, or water that can't drain in the winter because catch basins are frozen.

"We understand that this can be very disruptive and frustrating to property owners, and we regret the damage that can occur," the spokesperson stated in an email.

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